The United Kingdom is set to scrap all remaining entry restrictions for international passengers on March 18, announced Transport Secretary Grant Shapps Monday.
As of today, unvaccinated US and other overseas visitors are compelled to present a negative Covid-19 test performed no more than two days before travel in addition to another PCR test that should be taken within the first two days of arrival.
That is no longer the case. “All remaining Covid travel measures, including the Passenger Locator Form and tests for all arrivals, will be stood down for travel to the UK from 4 a.m. on 18 March,” announced Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.
In a similar line, Heathrow Airport, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic have announced that the mask-wearing requirement will be phased out on selected flights beginning March 16.
“These changes are possible due to our vaccine rollout and mean greater freedom in time for Easter,” said Shapps.
As of Sunday, 86% of the U.K.’s population aged 12 and above had received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to government data.
All these decisions come as the UK’s Covid-19 scenario worsens, with health experts worrying about the fast-rising number of citizens requiring hospitalization.
Last week, there were 10,576 new hospitalizations, up 19% from the prior week.
Over the last week, 444,201 positive cases were reported, representing a 48.1% rise.
A similar situation has been recorded in other EU nations, such as France, where the seven-day case average reached 60,323 – a 16.5 percent rise from the previous week.
The increase in cases is happening at a similar rate in all age groups.
The surge in incidence in both nations is believed to be caused by a sub-variant of Omicron known as BA2.